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St. Pete Seedfunders investors participate in funding healthtech startup

SeedFundersOrlando, a premier source of seed capital focused on technology startups in Central Florida, announced today that it has invested $195,000 in Kalogon, a Central Florida-based health tech startup founded by Space Coast aerospace engineers.  The engineers are developing smart seating technology to prevent pressure sores for those who sit for long periods of time, typically in wheelchairs. Seedfunders St. Petersburg and Seedfunders Miami investors participated in the investment, according to SeedFunders' announcement. “Thanks to the investment from SeedFundersOrlando, Kalogon is able to disrupt an industry where the current technology hasn’t changed since before the personal computer was invented,” Tim Balz, Founder and CEO of Kalogon, said in the news release. “The impact of pressure sores is preventable. Our Smart Cushion is being used in Central Florida rehab centers and at the Veteran’s Hospital in Tampa where we are already making a difference to their wheelchair-bound patients and veterans." 

Tampa Bay Partnership names United Way exec as its new CEO

The Tampa Bay Partnership has named Bemetra Simmons as its new president and CEO. Simmons will replace Rick Homans, who announced his plans to step down as CEO in March from the regional research and public policy organization. Simmons will assume the top role on Sept.27, according to the Partnership's announcement. Simmons currently serves as the chief strategy and operations officer for United Way Suncoast, where she oversees core operations functions, including facilitating a Covid-19 emergency response process which resulted in the disbursement of $1.6 million in emergency relief to area nonprofits. In assuming the lead role at the Partnership, she will continue to work closely with United Way Suncoast, most notably as collaborating partners on the State of the Region initiative, the release read. 

Man leads police on high-speed chase around Tampa Bay, across Skyway Bridge

A man led police on a high-speed pursuit around the entirety of Tampa Bay on Friday. According to police, the chase originated from a stolen vehicle call. The suspect fled in a white utility van with a ladder on the roof, careening through traffic in Hillsborough County. He continued south until reaching Manatee County, where he then got onto the Skyway Bridge. Video of the chase showed police vehicles trailing far behind the white van on the expansive bridge as police and news helicopters followed overhead. The suspect drove through St. Petersburg, crossed the Howard Frankland Bridge, and began to head north on the Veterans Expressway before officers were able to take him into custody on a grassy shoulder without further incident. The suspect was shirtless and without shoes as when taken into custody, and further information is pending.

Beekeeper electrocuted while removing beehive

A good deed cost a St. Petersburg man his life Wednesday after Jeffrey Johnston was electrocuted while removing a beehive. Johnston, 54, had been a beekeeper since he was 8. He and another went to the home of a fellow church member to retrieve the beehive using a bucket lift. Johnston touched an electrical wire and was pronounced dead on the scene, according to St. Petersburg police. In a 2018 interview with the Tampa Bay Times, Johnston said he averaged about 700 bee removals a year. His son, Jerick Johnston, told the Times that if the church needed a beehive removed, they called his father. Police said they believe the death was an accident.

Mona Patel becomes Tampa Bay TiE’s new executive director

TiE Tampa Bay has named Mona Patel as its first full-time executive director. Former president Karthik Viswanathan, as well as others, referred her. Patel previously worked as a legal assistant and paralegal in Tampa Bay. TiE is a non-profit, global community of entrepreneurs. The organization fosters startup growth by hosting pitch events, and offering mentoring and education workshops. 

St. Pete ranked first for best places to work remotely

The City of St. Petersburg has once again made a “best-of” list, this time taking the top spot in Higher Visibility’s Best Places to Remote Work in America. The list was for cities with under a million residents, and St. Pete edged out second-place Las Vegas and third-place Miami to lead the group of 20. Higher Visibility cited the median home price of $284,709 and almost 5,000 free Wi-Fi spots as deciding factors. Criteria included the number of green spaces, broadband speed, the number of coffee shops, WIFI hotspots, and average rent and home prices. Houston ranked number one for cities with a population of over 1 million.

After adding a second date due to demand, Schitt’s Creek is no longer coming to St. Pete

The popular Canadian sitcom Schitt’s Creek will no longer bring its long-awaited multimedia tour to the Mahaffey Theater. Created by father and son duo Eugene and Dan Levy, the Emmy Award-winning series originally aired on CBS before Netflix bought the rights. The farewell tour was first scheduled to stop in St. Pete in May, with a second date added due to the high demand for tickets. Hosted by the Levy’s and featuring most of the cast, the multimedia event was intended to bring a live, interactive experience and present an inside look of the series to fans. In a social media post, the Levy’s said the ongoing pandemic and varying state and local health mandates made rescheduling too difficult. The Mahaffey is in the process of issuing refunds, and all six seasons of the show can be streamed through Netflix.

Tampa Bay Innovation Center names first-ever director of development

The Tampa Bay Innovation Center has named Greg Nagel as its first-ever director of development. He will be responsible for managing and executing the financing activities of the Tampa Bay Innovation Center. Nagel’s primary responsibility is to drive the capital campaign for the new 45,000-square-foot innovation center. The Tampa Bay Innovation Center will raise approximately $3.5 million for the new home. 

Forbes ranks Tampa as the No.1 tech city

Tampa has outranked tech hubs such as San Francisco, Austin and Miami on Forbes' list of Emerging Tech Cities. There are over 50 software and IT companies in Tampa and Tampa is responsible for over 25% of Florida’s tech jobs, according to Forbes. The top-ranking was highly credited to Jeff Vinik and Bill Gates' investment in developing Water Street. "Vinik and Gates’ support is just the nitroglycerine in an already revving engine. Tampa’s positioned to become one of the tech capitals of the American South in the coming decade," Forbes wrote. The rise of Embarc Collective and investments made by Florida Funders were also mentioned. See the full list here

22 block stretch of Central Ave. to go car free for Halloween

A coalition including Car-Free St. Pete, EDGE district, Grand Central District, Open Streets St. Pete and the City are hosting Halloween on Central. The free event will include costume contests, trick-or-treating and other festival fare, but is meant for more than celebrating Halloween. The organizers intend to showcase Central Ave without large vehicles to advocate becoming a more walkable city.  Halloween on Central happens Oct 31st from 12 pm to 5 pm. 

Raymond James unveils operating data for July, increase of assets

St. Pete-based Raymond James Financial Inc. (NYSE: RJF) reported an increase in client assets under administration. The record client assets under administration of $1.18 trillion increased 30% over July 2020 and 1% over June 2021, according to Raymond James' operating data for the month of July. The record financial assets under management of $194.4 billion increased 29% over July 2020 and 2% over June 2021.  “Financial advisor retention and recruiting momentum remain strong across our multiple affiliation options,” Chairman and CEO Paul Reilly said in a statement. “In the Capital Markets segment, investment banking pipelines are robust but fixed-income brokerage activity declined in July.”

Kroger and Shell enter partnership agreement in Tampa

Kroger.com and Shell have announced a new partnership in Tampa that will allow customers to order groceries online at Kroger.com, have them delivered to their home and earn Fuel Points at Shell. By shopping at Kroger.com and earning Fuel Points, customers can save up to $1 per gallon by redeeming Fuel Points at Shell, according to Kroger's announcement. There are 280 participating Shell stations throughout Jacksonville, Orlando and Tampa. The partnership will expand to other Florida cities in the coming months. 

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